Happy Monday everyone. I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Today I have for you a stop on the Keystone Tour. Many of you may remember my review for Cornerstone a few months ago. It was a five star indie gem! I loved this book and highly recommend you read it if you are looking for something unique. It is unlike anything I have read before! The best part is that you can get your own ebook copies for $.99. Trust me, it is a steal. For my spot on the tour today, I am excited to host the lovely Misty Provencher. She is here to share her thoughts on sequels and blind dates. Be sure to enter the giveaways!
Here is Misty:
The Intimate Trappings of the Second Book in a Series
Writing the first book in my Cornerstone Series (aptly named: Cornerstone) was cinchy. It took me four months to write from start to finish. A joy. After publishing, I began to get great reviews and enthusiastic requests from my readers. They wanted more. Book Two, where was it? As the requests poured in, I did what I assumed no other writer ever does.
I freaked out a little.
Keystone (initially called Breakstone) was about ¾ of the way written when I published Cornerstone. From the time I had begun querying Cornerstone, I had been writing Keystone on and off, which is what any agent will tell you is the hands down worst thing a writer can do. (You never work on the second book in a series until you know the first will fly. The reason being, you don’t want an arsenal of dead ducks that your dog can’t hunt.)
So, when Cornerstone started to get some serious reader attention, I flipped a little. Not because Keystone wasn’t done yet. Not because I couldn’t write it. But because of the expectations of what that second book would be shizzled my snizzles.
Finishing Keystone and putting it out into the world was a lot like a certain blind date a friend of mine talked me into once. My friend had talked up my date: he was a good guy, nice looking, nice car. (We were like, sixteen, so a nice car was as good as saying this guy had a Swiss bank account and the maturity level of Eddie Cullen.)
You, who have blind dated, know that this story won’t end well.
Anywho, my concern for my second book was similar to what I’d learned about hoping on a blind-date star: I worried that readers who had loved Cornerstone were also busily fantasizing about how the story would continue. I worried that they might be disappointed with the direction I was going. I worried that the voice wouldn’t be as poignant since there had been a lapse in time since I began writing and finished it. I worried that the story wouldn’t grab readers the way Cornerstone had or that –like in the movies- the sequel would never be as good as the first.
Turns out, there’s a lot that you can worry about when writing the second book.
So here’s what I learned about freaking out: you can write or you can write while freaking out. Up to you. Me, I took the second option, since it’s so enjoyable (sarcastic laugh). You can doubted yourself and second guess every sentence. You’ll probably do a whole lot of overhauling and revisions. You might decide to rework and then pitch a zillion reworked scenes and then started over completely at least twice. (If I’d kept all my revisions and changes, the amount of paper would surely stretch, lined end to end, from my front door to Pluto, at least twice.) But the way I found to get through all the worry was to write and rewrite and do it until it feels right.
As of this writing, reader feedback has been that Keystone is a success on the reader-enjoyment scale. So looky there, my friends. To worry or not to worry- it’s totally up to you. Just get the book out there so you can see what they really think.
Thank you Misty for your entertaining insight on writing sequels. For the record what exactly is an octo-creep?
As part of the tour I get to offer you folks a giveaway! You can win a
ebook copy of Keystone along with a signed ARC copy of Amanda Hocking's Wake. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter and check out Contest Policies. This giveaway is for U.S. residents only. In addition to this giveaway there are a couple of fantastic grand prize giveaways going on during the tour. Click on the banner for more tour stops and check out the contests. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Keystone (Cornerstone #2) by Misty Provencher.
There’s a man-made storm coming, like a rip in the world, and it’s called the Cusp. Struggling to fit into the destiny she’s accepted, Nalena Maxwell has been left with one objective: she must find her murdered grandfather’s Memory. Stolen and hidden away by her own father over seventeen years ago, the Memory could be the key to ending the Cusp and destroying the Ianua’s rival community, The Fury. Driven by each individual’s selfish desires, The Fury has always lacked the loyalty and organization it needs to be an actual force of power. Until now. Someone masterminded the Fury’s massive attack on the Ianua, slaughtering twelve of their thirteen community leaders, the Addos. Now there are rumors that the 13th Cura, to which Nali belongs, has gone to the Fury, manipulating the last Addo in order to control the other 12 Curas. As the Cusp brings the Fury and their own communities against them, Nalena’s Cura must preserve the Ianua, but finding the key to the Cusp isn’t as simple as it seems. Paperback, 259 pages Published July 31st 2012
Nalena is still reeling from her tragic loss. Yet, she must somehow pick up the cornerstone and complete her impressioning. Except reimpressioning is even harder and more dangerous and very seldom successful. She grits her teeth and picks up the stone and her body is immediately assaulted with fiery, mind numbing pain. She screams until her voice is hoarse and then passes out. If Nali can survive the impressioning she still has some huge obstacles to face: putting to rest a memory of a loved one, retrieving the lost memory of her grandfather, surviving the onslaught of the Fury and completing her training as a Contego. She has a full plate for someone so young. The paper hoarding days might be a thing of the past, but her problems are even greater. Can Nali become a Contego and find her grandfather's memory?
What I Liked:
- I liked that book picks up right after the stunning events at the conclusion of Cornerstone. Book two begins with a fierce bite as it immediately plunges its teeth into your head and hangs on until the final pages! This book is jammed packed full of action. There were numerous heart pounding scenes that I couldn't read fast enough as I was so worried for the safety of the characters I have grown to love. Have you ever read a scene so fast while your pulse races and then find once you get to the end of the scene you have to go back and recheck some things because your adrenaline was spiking and you were reading in mega fast speed? This happened to me a couple of times. The action was so good!
- I loved the way the members of the Ianua say goodbye to loved ones. They have a special ceremony that ensures their memories will be secure and that the deceased will always be a part of them, so once the ceremony is complete, they no longer miss their loved ones. I was blown away by this idea and thought it was touching and amazing!
- I liked that Nalena continues to grow. She is beginning to shed some of her insecurities and self doubt as she trains to become Contego, a protectorate. Yet, she still has moments where she wavers and questions herself and her new found abilities. I like that she is slow to evolve into a Contego. Her flashes of fear and self deprecation remind us that she is entirely human and vulnerable and it made me like her all the more. I am enjoying watching her journey and seeing her grow. There are some instances where she displays that it is no fluke that she is Contego.
- I particularly enjoy how the romance is developing in this one. It is a deep and thorough connection. Garrett is still just wonderful and I admired his patience and willingness to give Nali her space as was needed. The romance is in someways a slow burner, but in other ways not. It is a mature relationship that blossomed from a hesitant friendship. I look forward to seeing how it continues to strengthen as it progresses.
- All my favorite characters were back, Nali, Garrett, Sean and Addo. I liked that I got to know them even better. Addo was still calm, practical and funny even when his back was up against the wall. He is one of the most unique guru type characters I have encountered. I love that he continues to sport his unfashionable wardrobe (sweats, tube socks and sandals) and he munches lots of cookies. He provides the bright spot in the middle of the chaos. Sean steps up and takes on some new responsibilities as well, and I was so excited to see his path since he is one of my favorite characters. I also enjoyed getting to know Sean and Mark, the two younger Reese boys, better. They are exuberant young teenagers, but when the chips fall they step up and do their part and show no fear. I really liked that! Finally, I met a new character Nok, a Veritas, he was very interesting to say the least!
- I liked that certain characters ended up surprising me at the end. One with a change of heart and willingness to help, and another that takes a stand and goes against the wishes of the Fury at great peril to himself. It is always nice to see people change for the better.
- I continued to be impressed by the uniqueness of the story line and the world building in this series. It takes a lot to amaze me these days, but this series does just that. If you are looking for something that is incredibly unique check out this series!
And The Not So Much:
- I have few criticisms for this book. I find, though, at times I am still struggling a bit to see the full picture when it comes to the intricate workings of the Iuana and the branches. More details are emerging so I know that I need to just settle in and be patient. The Veritas are still a little muddled for me. They are a group of small people that burrow underground. I would love to get a better peek into their family structures and lifestyles.
- This book races along at a break neck speed and there is a lot of detail and revelations to soak up. It does get a bit complex at times, so it is best to read when you are completely focused so that you don't miss pertinent information.
- Ms. Provencher has her own unique writing style that I thoroughly enjoy. However, she tends to incorporate similes and metaphors that at times are a bit jarring because they are so different. Sometimes they really work and at other times, I was a bit befuddled by her choice of descriptions. This by no means is a big issue, just an observation. Perhaps, paring a bit on the eccentric comparisons would make the story flow a bit better.
- This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Granted, it isn't one that is painful and horrendous by any means and I was certainly satisfied that I had the answers to the pressing questions that were presented in this one. Misty does leave the reader on edge, though worrying about the safety of some of the characters!
The Cornerstone Series is one that swept me up in its creativity and originality. It has an intricate story line along with genuine and like able characters! I love the characters in this series, they already feel like fast friends. If you are wanting to read something that will challenge your imagination and get you excited, do yourself a favor and check out these books! I am already eagerly looking forward to the next book!
"He smiles when he sees my eyelashes flutter. In the candlelight, his eyes are the color of rain."
“Standing isn’t supposed to be an extreme sport, Nali.”
"The real, bitter pill is that every moron you encounter is actually here to make you less of one."
"She’ll be everywhere you look, Nalena,” Addo gives my arm a gentle squeeze before he moves away. “So be sure to keep your head up instead of staring at the potholes.”
"My hands are in his hair. There’s a girl in his kiss who laughs like wind chimes and who says the smartest things and whose eyes are as natural as the Earth. I could be jealous of her. If she wasn’t me."
"The air inside it smells like it’s been lying around on the floor for years."
"The world I just signed on for is crumbling as I stand on its threshold. Everything is changing and it seems like this is all my fault."
"The dented mini bus that lurches up to the curb looks like a death trap. And the guy driving it looks like a crazy-haired sock puppet in a black leather jacket. His head is a dark pile of spiral locks, like unraveled yarn."
"The clear blue of his eyes erases the shame and the scribbles. Looking into his eyes, it’s like my life lays itself out between us, a sprawling treasure map, and the dotted line that I’m supposed to follow leads straight to him."
"It’d be reasonable to be sad, but I felt totaled. There was a whole world of air, but without you there, I couldn’t breathe any of it in."
"There is a suggestion in his tone, a tiny chocolate curl at the end, like a dessert you shouldn’t eat after a big dinner."
“What kind of place is this? It’s like miles of groundhog-day-houses.”
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.